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     UCLA stifles #2 USC and sends them to the Rose Bowl
    Sports: Athletic Contests
    USC coach Pete Carroll got his wish to win the PAC-10 and go to the Rose Bowl. He appeared to be stunned that it actually happened. The UCLA Bruin defense held the Trojans to 9 points, all in the first half and won 13-9. USC ends up tied with Cal for first place, but the Trojans beat the Golden Bears in a head to head meeting to seal the PAC-10 automatic BCS bid. Ohio State and Florida will meet in the BCS championship.

    My prediction was that the Bruin defense would be good. DeWayne Walker trained and motivated them to win this game. Given the fact that it was archrival USC and no other team, I do not know if UCLA could have pulled this off against any other #2 team. The UCLA defensive line and secondary kept getting to USC. And in the second half, they kept it up. USC was shut out in the 2nd half for the first time in a long, long time. The third quarter crushing has been their trademark. I certainly did not think that the UCLA defense could make the USC offense look weaker that the UCLA offense. USC got one score on a safety, but chalk that up to the USC defense and a panic situation by the UCLA offense.USC should have won this game. USC has proved itself against all the other teams bringing their A game for the fifth year in a row. Throw out the #2 ranking and look at the games. UCLA lost to Notre Dame and Cal, two teams that USC beat handily. Ignore the fact that USC lost to Oregon State, a team the UCLA beat. USC was sleepwalking in that game, and Oregon State brought their A+ game. After that game, the Trojans defeated Stanford. The sports pundits already had them tabbed for the championship at that point; ignoring the fact that USC now faced the meat of their schedule: Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame. If they were going to lose, it was going to be against one of those opponents. USC emerged victorious each time. They won the PAC-10 against Cal, and then gloriously defeated archrival Notre Dame. The UCLA game was just a footnote to them, much like 2004. And UCLA was ready for them with two weeks to prepare and knowing they might be running out of gas, much like 2004. Unlike 2004, USC did not have a pair of Heisman trophy winners to carry them through. And UCLA finally caught up with them.Patrick Cowan, Eric McNeal, Justin Hickman, Justin Medlock, Aaron Perez and Bruce Davis have elevated themselves into the Pantheon of great UCLA players with this game. It will probably be mentioned every time this game is played, right along with the 1967, 1981, and 1988 games.
    ABC had great coverage in High definition. A number of commercials also ran in HD, notably those for the Sharp Aquos and ESPN sports. Man, I miss Keith Jackson. Brent Musburger grates at me. Bob Davie, former Notre Dame coach, is a great color commentator though. I hope ABC keeps him. He is also the answer to the trivia question, “Who is the last coach to beat Pete Carroll at USC by more than 7 points?” I would take Dick Enberg or Verne Lundquist over both Musberger and Jackson. Musberger called this game the upset of the season. Obviously he missed the earlier Oregon State -USC game, which was the upset of the season. Who would have thought that the Rose Bowl is the consolation prize for the LOSER of both the Ohio State-Michigan game and the UCLA-USC game? It has been a mixed bag for the Rose Bowl joining the BCS. I do not know what the future holds for NCAA division 1 football, but the Rose Bowl game and parade are a big part of the pageantry. The other bowl games are pale imitations. The BCS championship game does not even have a parade! Florida and Michigan ended up in a BCS computer tie, but the human voters placed Florida over Michigan. If USC had won over UCLA, Michigan probably stays as the #3 team. Voters placed Florida in the BCS championship for three reasons: 1. Ohio State already defeated Michigan. That game decided the national championship right there. My opinion is that if the Gators somehow beat the Buckeyes, that it would be a split #1 voting. Ohio State does not deserve to have to beat down the same team twice and Michigan does not deserve a rematch. That also would lead to a split final vote. 2. Michigan did not win the Big Ten conference. In the bowl system, they automatically would go to a different bowl game. No conference 2nd place team should have a shot at the title in a single game playoff 3. The SEC got ripped off when Auburn did not play for the title in 2005. Although the SEC got a freebie in 2004 with LSU. All the conferences, with exception of the Big 12, have been burnt. Meanwhile Notre Dame has been printing money out of the whole BCS and NBC deal. Looking down the road, Michigan should defeat USC. If the Trojans beat Michigan, all arguments are moot. UCLA may not be able to beat Florida State in the Emerald bowl. Their 6-6 records has plenty of close games, and losses to teams that have won out, like Wake Forest and Florida.
    Posted on Monday, December 04, 2006 @ 10:55:37 UTC by BB
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